Stepping out of your predecessors’ shadows and trying to acquire a specific, incomparable, identifiable sound is difficult when this era of music bares a practically open invitation to so many carbon-copy artists. One thing that is admirable is that Senegalese-American rapper Cheikh has managed to counter this running theme whilst sustaining a current sound, delivering very thought-provoking and encouraging hip-hop.
Pretty much living the life of an aspiring rapper since the age of 17, Cheikh participated in playground rap battles against his peers, developing a desire to further his rap ambitions. During his adolescent years he had the benefit of living in many different countries, finally taking up base in the UK. His experiences in different cultures and traditions have been a dominant influence on his rapping style and you can hear and visualise this in his musical presentation. Cheikh’s sound is somewhat refreshing and youthful.
Unbeknownst to some, Richie Montana, one of the key elements to Tinie Tempah’s development and current success, took Cheikh under his wing and has played a core part in mentoring him over the last two years. Many successes followed soon after, with Cheikh’s mixtape P.U.S.H receiving over 1,500 downloads on DatPiff. His latest mixtape project, Progression, has received a whopping 2000+ downloads in the space of a week.
With ten songs full of feelgood rhythms accompanied by slick and speedy delivery, Cheikh does indeed show off on this mixtape. His wit and humour is excellently displayed on tracks like “Superman,” “My Way” and “So Much More (Freestyle).” With songs such as “Failure Meets Success” and “Opposite” — which exudes a mid-90s Chicago old-school hip-hop vibe — he touches on more motivational topics. The tape is a great catalogue of sounds all walks of life can listen to.